According to her CNN Op-Ed (click here to read), Roxanne Jones, Founding Editor of ESPN The Magazine, shared the following with her son:
Never have sex with a girl unless she’s sent you a text that proves the sexual relationship is consensual beforehand.
~ Roxanne Jones
We are always appreciative when parents work to educate their children about sex and respect. Because we are committed to helping families around the world address these issues, we want to help Moms and Dads from making the same mistakes Roxanne Jones made in her CNN Op-Ed.
With reference to her statement about texting, Jones has given her sons inaccurate, misleading, and dangerous information. A text does not provide legal consent, especially since consent must be given freely and of sound mind (no alcohol, drug, or other influences). A text message cannot show whether someone was “of sound mind” and cannot even show the message was sent of one’s free will. Anyone can grab someone’s cell phone and send a message (and can force someone to send a message).
Later in her CNN Op-Ed, Jones shares the following paragraph:
But we need to do more work to teach our daughters that women also have an equal personal responsibility to respect their bodies. And true equality means that we are also held accountable for our actions. Partying and drinking until you are no longer in control of your body or mind instantly sets you up to become a victim of rape or bodily harm — or even to die.
~ Roxanne Jones
Survivors throughout the country have shared with me how statements like this one resulted in the survivor blaming herself after an assault, especially phrases such as “instantly sets you up to become a victim of rape or bodily harm.” If a person “disrespects” his or her own body (as Jones states), that does not give anyone else the right to disrespect that person’s body.
Jones also says:
I’m doing my part, raising a son to respect women.
and throughout the Op-Ed, she uses the reference to:
Raising a child to respect other human beings is a goal every parent should aim for. Stating you are “raising a son to respect women” and then referring to some women as “stupid girls” is hypocrisy. That kind of messaging leads people to only respecting the “smart girls” which is not even close to the message of “RESPECT WOMEN” (and MEN by the way).
In her Op-Ed, Jones does end with the sentence:
“If she’s falling down drunk, stay away, far away.”
~ Roxanne Jones
Clearly, Jones is trying to reinforce a drunk person is not being able to give consent – an IMPORTANT message for everyone to hear. Her sentence would have been more truthful if she had not included the words “falling down” before the word “drunk.” What would have been a much more effective, caring, and legally accurate statement?
If someone is drunk, look out for the person. Check in with the person to see if he/she has a group of people ensuring he/she gets home safely at the end of the night. RESPECT all individuals as human beings.
~ The DATE SAFE Project
The DATE SAFE Project extends an offer to work with ESPN in providing all your readers helpful strategies for discussing consent and respect, especially when conversations are occurring regarding athletes.
Whether intended or not, for this Op-Ed to appear during a time when Florida State University football player, Jameis Winston, could be facing sexual assault charges is unfortunate. Some people will use Jones’ words to blame the female. Such victim blaming often results in less survivors coming forward in the future.